LotR (was Re: reviews (but not of MC))

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Fri Dec 12 16:43:27 EST 2003


Deborah:

>|>He wasn't making a point at all, just telling the story he had in him to
>|>tell, is the way I read it: that it happens to include such things as
>|>trying to behave well rather than badly (if you are a hobbit, trying to be
>|>brave and do the job you have been landed with, for instance) may if one
>|>chooses be taken as a Moral Message, but Tolkien was pretty firmly
>|>determined that he Had Not Written An Allegory, and I'm prepared to take
>|>his word for it that such was not his intent.
>|
>|Not to harp, but why is authorial intention a conclusive argument-ender to
>|this discussion? I know Tolkien said the book wasn't an allegory, but it is
>|damn easy to read as one. There seems to be some space here for debate:
>|just because Tolkien made these pronouncements doesn't mean he's *right*.

[snip]

>Unless people want to have the author's intent discussion, which is fine
>if we're all nice about it.  But Robyn and I aren't going to be
>convinced that the author must be right, and Minnow isn't going to be
>convinced that the author isn't, and Charlie isn't going to be convinced
>not to waffle.  ;)   So it would mostly be for our own amusement.

:-)  Well, in *that* case....   (Clearly there's no more room on the 
fence, and all the maple syrup in the multiverses has already been 
allocated for pouring on Charlie, so otherwise, I wouldn't be going 
near this discussion!)

As I understood it (on very limited information) the reason Tolkien 
didn't want to write allegory was that it limited the story to just 
the one meaning.  So his 'intention' in not writing allegory, and the 
desire of many of us not to pay any attention to authorial intention 
but interpret for ourselves seem to work beautifully together.  :-)

And, in a weird bit of synchronicity, while looking for copies of 
LotR books for Cara today, I found _The Origins of  Tolkien's 
Middle-Earth for Dummies_.   It looked wonderful, at least in that 
hot, crowded bookshop when you're tired and have heavy parcels and 
are supposed to be buying presents for *other* people but end up 
looking at books you'd like yourself kind of limited-attention way.


Hallie (who thought those waffles seemed a promising start to another 
one of our long food discussions, but fears it'll come to nothing.)





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